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Long-awaited Flames arena deal could give Calgary much-needed boost

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It’s a shot in the arm the city needs.

Perhaps it’s part of a turning point in an economic downturn Calgarians have lived with since Jiri Hudler was a Flame.

A four-year battle to land the city a new arena/event centre appears to be less than a week away from concluding with a commonsense resolution.

Details of the tentative agreement were unveiled at a press conference at city hall Monday, at which the bottom line will show the Calgary Flames ownership group will go Dutch with the city on a $550 million building to be located a few hundred metres from the 37-year-old Saddledome.

The $275 million to be funded by Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corp is more than double what Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz contributed to Rogers Place, which has transformed the city’s downtown core.

The plan is for a similar injection of life to the Stampede grounds where the rink, to be ready by 2024, will kick start the building of a culture and entertainment district that will include an outdoor festival space a la Toronto’s Jurassic Park.

It could wind up being the heartbeat of the city.

A sign of life in a city with more than one-third of all office spaces vacant.

Maybe this city is open for business after all.

Oh sure, there’s still time for political grandstanding.

However, in the end, it’s likely sanity will prevail and this city will be able to guarantee NHL hockey stays in town for the next 35 years,........

© Sportsnet